It always seems like a dream. You start each month with hopes of ending the month with extra cash in your bank account. Enough money to pay for dinner at your favorite restaurant and a few cocktails or money for that massage you’ve been longing for. Only to find at the end of the month that you’re back to the same old routine of moving money from your savings account to keep up with your expenses.
If you’re tired of that never-ending dream, we’ve got a few sneaky ways to end the month with extra money. Whether you decide to bank the money in your savings account or treat yourself to a night out, having some extra money at the end of the month is easier than you think.
Create a budget
Without a doubt, creating a spending plan and tracking your expenses is one of the best ways to end the month with extra money. Creating a spending plan doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Track your spending easily by using a mobile app like You Need a Budget®, Clarity Money©, Albert© or simply keep a log of what you spend each day.
Why does tracking your spending matter, you ask? Good question. When you track your spending, you’re able to spot trends and patterns with your spending that you wouldn’t otherwise see. For instance, maybe Wednesdays are stressful for you, so you always indulge more than you think on that day to feel better. When you track your spending, you can find these patterns, as well as other expenses that you could cut out of your spending and instead put that money towards your goals.
Some other trends you can spot to find extra money each month:
Unused subscriptions and memberships
It might be a gym membership or a subscription to a food service or movie platform that you aren’t using. Cancel those subscriptions and route the savings towards your money goals.
Watch out for auto-pay
It’s so easy to click a button and buy everything you need online. Before you know it, you could spend hundreds of extra dollars each month. When you track your spending, you can identify your worst auto-pay offenders and set a spending limit each month.
Cut out silly fees
A lot of people are still paying for bank fees each month. There are loads of online banks to consider that don’t require a minimum deposit or charge monthly fees.
By creating a spending plan and tracking your expenses, you can see where your money is going and make changes to spend your money with more awareness. A few dollars here and a few dollars there can go a long way towards helping you end the month with extra money.
Shop with discounts
If you’re going to shop online, shop with discounts. Almost every online shop offers a special discount to loyal customers by signing up to their email list, some as much as 40 percent to 50 percent off. Sure, it’s just another email to land in your inbox, but if it’s from a shop you buy from often, it’s worth the clutter.
Even airlines and hotels will offer discounts online. You can find all sorts of travel deals on discount travel websites, like Kayak©, Skyscanner© and Travelzoo®. Not to mention, many airline and hotel companies offer insider discounts if you follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
Upgrade your plans
The thought of negotiation brings up images of buying a used car and generally evokes fear. However, negotiation in its purest form is just a question of asking if you have the best deal.
Getting a better plan in place for common utilities is a great place to start. It’s common to sign up for your utilities and never think twice about it until you move out. You might be missing out on some opportunity to save each month.
Depending on how long you’ve lived in your home, your internet plan is likely outdated. Carriers come up with new plans frequently and are always trying to stay price competitive. A great way to find extra money each month is to call your carrier and see if you have the best deal and to shop around with competitors.
Your cell phone plan is another great opportunity to end the month with extra money. Shop around and ask your carrier if you have the best plan at the best price.
Ditching your cable plan is a great way to end the month with extra money. Streaming services offer entertainment for a fraction of the price of cable packages saving you hundreds of dollars each month.
Put your points to work
More than 35 percent of people have no idea how credit card loyalty points work and are missing out. If you have rewards-based credit cards, chances are you have points that you haven’t used. Those points could result in more cash in your bank account.
Many credit cards with rewards offer you options when it comes to your points. You can cash in your points, use your points towards travel, hotel or car rental, or you use your points for gift cards for shopping, entertainment and eating out. When you cash in your points, you can easily move that money directly to your bank account and spend the extra money however you like.
Also, many rewards credit cards offer special monthly bonuses that can vary from an extra reward bonus for shopping, eating out, or getting gas. Be sure to check your credit cards for any special bonus reward offers each month because you usually need to opt-in to receive them.
Lower your interest rate
Lowering your interest rate on monthly expenses like credit cards and student loans is a great way to end the month with extra money. A lower interest rate typically correlates with a lower monthly payment and a lower out-of-pocket expense overall.
Did you know you could get an interest rate reduction on your credit cards? While this isn’t a guarantee, it’s worth a call to your credit card companies. You have the best opportunity for an interest rate reduction if you’ve been a loyal customer and pay your bill on time each month. Also, you might have a credit card with a special 0 percent interest balance transfer or purchase option that you can take advantage of to put even more money in your pocket each month or to help you pay down your balance without paying interest.
With the rise of private student loan refinancing companies, it’s worth a quick check to see if you can lower your student loan interest rate. Use an online marketplace, such as Credible© and MagnifyMoney©, to compare rates from several lenders to see if refinancing makes sense for you.
Do you have the right mortgage for you? Home mortgage interest rates are still some of the lowest rates in history and refinancing could help you save money each month.
These are just a few ideas, but there are lots of ways to end the month with extra money. If you’re committed to tracking your spending and making some tweaks with your current spending, you could uncover money each month that you can use towards all your amazing financial goals. This list is meant to inspire you to search for additional ways you can end the month with extra money without sacrificing your lifestyle. Instead, focus on ways to spend smarter, and you’ll be surprised at the amount of money you uncover.
Shannah Compton Game is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional with an MBA and is the host of the award-winning podcast, Millennial Money, where she shares totally relatable and easy to understand financial advice that will actually make you want to talk about money.
You Need a Budget is a registered trademark of Steine LLC.
Clarity Money is a copyright of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Albert is a copyright of Learn By Doing, Inc.
Kayak is a copyright of Booking Holdings Inc.
Skyscanner is a copyright of Skyscanner Ltd.
Travelzoo is a registered trademark of Travelzoo.
Credible is a copyright of Credible Operations, Inc.
MagnifyMoney is a copyright of LendingTree, Inc.
Opinions expressed by the author are their own. Haven Life Insurance Agency offers this as educational information only. Haven Life does not endorse or offer the companies, products, services and/or strategies discussed here.